Artists’ Union England is a trade union for professional visual and applied artists, and artists with a socially engaged practice which launched on the 1st of May 2014. The three original founding members were Katriona Beales, Angela Kennedy and Sally Sheinman; which expanded to include 7 others who formed the first Executive Committee. Beales served on the Executive Committee until taking maternity leave in 2015 and continues as an active member. In 2020 Beales became a Trustee of AUE Solidarity Fund.
Artists’ Union England is a new trade union for professional visual and applied artists, and artists with a socially engaged practice.
As a trade union, we aim to represent artists at strategic decision-making levels and positively influence the value and role artists play within society.
The Union is an opportunity to create a unique, sustainable and supportive infrastructure, which is built by its members for its members. We aim towards consensus decision-making and want to encourage an active grass roots membership and involvement with a wide geographical spread.
We want to challenge the economic inequalities in the art world by working together to negotiate fair pay and better working conditions for artists, as well as promote models for good practice.
We believe in fair remuneration for labour, which should translate to a wage comparable to other professionals. We are against unpaid labour. Fair and transparent payment for artists is not only ethically desirable, but vital for a sustainable and vibrant art world.
We seek to work with other unions, arts organisations, government bodies and cultural institutions whilst remaining both independent and transparent.
Artists’ Union England is funded solely by membership dues and donations, and we aim to be totally transparent in all our financial dealings. We are run by an executive committee and overseen by trustees, all of whom are artists and current members of the trade union.
The current executive committee and trustees first met together in September 2013, and are some of the founding members of Artists’ Union England. More information on the artists currently carrying out these roles can be found here. In forthcoming years all these positions will be elected at our Annual General Meeting.
We invite all artists to join and enter into dialogue with us to help shape the future of the union.